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The Physicians Committee



PCRM Scientists Save Animals’ Lives at Dow Chemical

PCRM scientists saved 675 animals’ lives this month, thanks to a recent dialogue with Dow Chemical—and some smart science.

In March, Dow was planning an experiment in which a chemical—commercial hydroxyethylpiperazine, or CHEP—would have been applied to the skin of pregnant rats. The rats would then have been allowed to give birth, and both the mothers and their offspring would then have been killed to study the effect the chemical had on reproduction and development. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s High Production Volume program, companies assemble data on the potential effects of certain chemicals and often conduct testing using animals.

PCRM toxicologists suggested that Dow first use a nonanimal model to assess whether or not CHEP would even penetrate the rats’ skin. Dow experts liked this idea and used modern computer technology to model chemical parameters based on a chemical’s structure and other characteristics. The tests showed that the chemical would not absorb through the skin in any appreciable amount and therefore would have no reproductive effects on the animals.

Dow then canceled the animal experiment. The outcome was beneficial for everyone: Dow Chemical saved money by avoiding an unnecessary experiment, and, most importantly, no animals lost their lives.



 

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